Ren, and the battle between good and evil

I have enjoyed music throughout my life, but the past 5 years or so, my interest in the artistic expression of music has come and gone as I go through various phases. Lately, I have been listening to music again, and yesterday I saw this video featuring the music artist, Ren.

I have never heard anything like it or been impacted by a song to this degree in a long time. It’s more than a mere performance of an original song, it is the emotional expulsion of a story depicting the internal struggle of a young man, one that blurred the lines of imagination and reality, and his journey towards healing. It is very different than the struggles I have faced in life, but at the same time it is relatable. At the end of the video he tells a little bit of his story, but if you scroll down in the comment section he gives a further explanation.

Ren explains in his comment that as a young child he had a voice inside his head that was not his own. I cannot imagine having to deal with such a thing. Sure, I have a voice inside my head that is not very nice sometimes, but it never feels like it’s something or someone else.  It is still me, talking to me. Sounds like Ren has some sort of auto immune condition, which is likely contributing to his mental struggles, but it is scary to think that this sort of thing is possible, to have to live with another entity inside of you.

When Ren was nine years old, he screamed at the voice inside his head, over and over again, to go away. And it did. But that was not the end of Ren’s struggles. The battle he faced became a psychological warfare within his own mind, a battle between good and evil, between the light and the dark. As this battle waged on there were many victories, but the momentum of these victories always swung back to the dark. He says, “… it was a pendulum eternally swaying from the dark to the light, and the more intensely that the light shone, the darker the shadow it cast.”

At whatever point I emerged from the innocence of childhood, to face the real and unreal struggles of reality, I have fought a similar battle to a much lesser degree. I would always arrive at moments in time where I thought I had finally found the peace I’d been searching for. Surely this time it would stay. This time I had it all figured out. But inevitably something would trigger the suffering again. Much of the time, it was all too easy to pull back the curtain concealing some corner of my mind, exposing the reason to feel sad and hopeless again. And then, the battle ensued. The fight for peace. But if that peace is won through a bitter fight, is it ever really lasting, is it ever truly real?

Ren says, “It was never really a battle for me to win, it was an eternal dance, and like a dance, the more rigid I became, the harder it got…. so I learned to relax, I learned to soften, and the dance got easier.”

So perhaps the greatest struggle is not in the coming and going of peace of mind, but it is in the fight itself. The fight which results from the belief that we are supposed to be a certain way, supposed to arrive on the mountain top of victory, never again to slip and fall, to follow the wrong path. I’ve come to realize that willpower and self discipline is important, but it is helpful to combine it with acceptance and forgiveness. To constantly fight one’s demons only makes them more powerful.

But is it sometimes necessary to fight? Is fighting with all our might sometimes the right course of action? I would say so. Just as it was necessary for Ren to scream at his psychological invader to go away and never come back. But I think when we discover the place of light, we should give up the fight, rest there, breathe it in, and be grateful. Then, when we sense the darkness coming back, we can be forgiving and kind, easing the momentum of the pendulum, finding balance in the gentle acceptance of who we are, whether we fully comprehend it or not.

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4 Responses to Ren, and the battle between good and evil

  1. Bridgette says:

    Wow. I watched this yesterday and sobbed. We are dealing with heavy mental health stuff with my teenage daughter and it hit hard. Broke me a bit, honestly. I’d been holding back a lot of my fears and anxiety around what’s happening with her and this video opened me up to feel it all.

    Thank you. I’m grateful for having seen it and want to check out more by this artist. It’s important to talk about these things, the battles within us. Framing it as a dance seems such a powerful way to go forth, instead of a battle. I appreciate this post.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your daughter. Being a teenager is tough. It was for me anyways. Everyone is different, and it is hard to know what will help each individual. As a youngster, I think I mostly wanted someone to listen, empathize, and tell me everything was going to be OK. I think it would also help young people to actually learn practical strategies to deal with suffering, like meditation and finding things to be grateful for.

      I’m glad you found some catharsis through Ren’s music. I agree, framing it as a dance is much more powerful and helpful. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 🙏

      • Bridgette says:

        My daughter has always been a bit melancholic, but the pandemic and puberty hit at the same time and it really has been hard. She’s in therapy and under the care of a psychiatrist. It’s hard as a mother to see her struggle to hard, but I listen and emphasize as much as I can.

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